The "Holy Hound Bottle Shop" logo as viewed from Market Street. A handsome dog appears above the text, with a halo above his head.

The Last Days of Holy Hound Bottle Shop

Thanks to some new liquor laws, Pennsylvania beer distributors are now able to sell beer in any quantity. In response, some retailers are changing up their offerings or hours, while others are closing up shop. Unfortunately, my favorite local place to buy bottles — Holy Hound Bottle Shop in York — is among the latter.

Before you panic, don’t worry: Holy Hound Taproom (the bar / restaurant next door) is remaining open. Only the bottle shop is closing.

Despite the best efforts of rush-hour traffic (is it just me, or does that 25-mile stretch of 83 feel like it goes on forever?), we made it to downtown York in time to make one last visit to the bottle shop. And we weren’t the only ones: the line of 20+ people snaked its way past half-empty shelves. If there’s something you had your eye on, you’d better get there quick!

A line of customers winds around the display shelves in a craft beer store. A window overlooks Market Street in York, while a chalkboard that used to list their specials now sits sadly empty. Roughly a dozen customers are visible, mostly men in their 20s and 30s. Several dozen varieties of craft beers are visible.Opening just six months ago, this small storefront quickly became my favorite bottle shop. I can’t tell you exactly why, but Holy Hound’s extremely well-curated bottle collection definitely had a lot to do with it. Unlike a lot of other retailers, whose idea of “a diverse selection” means “a diverse selection of IPAs”, this place stocked an excellent selection of¬†everything! I love lagers, and I could easily fill two six packs with different lagers and STILL not nail everything they had.

And yes, I know: lager is uncool in the craft beer community. Don’t care.

Let’s not kid ourselves: the liquor law reform was long overdue. This closing is the bittersweet side effect that we all knew was coming. Although it stings right now, the end result will be better selection in more locations. It’s also a boon for craft beer drinkers, since we’ll now have more places and more opportunities to buy a single serving of an unknown brand or one-off production run.

To clear out their inventory, Holy Hound has currently marked down all their beer and wine by 40%. I wouldn’t expect this to last more than few days, so if you’re reading this, go now. As in, why are you still reading this?

Here’s to the rebirth of whatever that space becomes in the near future.